Madison

 

Tec 4 Harold F. Madison


   Tec. 4 Harold F. Madison was the son of Ruel & Anna Madison.  He was born in South Dakota on August 14, 1914, but he grew up in Monona, Iowa, with his two brothers and three sisters.  He attended a parochial grade school and went to high school in Luana.  In 1937, his family moved to Milton Junction, Wisconsin.

    In November of 1940, Harold and his brother Ralph joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Janesville.  His reason for doing this is that the draft act had passed and he wanted to fulfill his military obligation.  He also was aware that the tank company had been federalized and was to train in Kentucky for a year.

    At Fort Knox, Kentucky, Harold was trained as a tank radio operator.  It was his job to keep in touch with company headquarters.  Next, he took part in maneuvers in Louisiana in the early fall of 1941.  After these maneuvers, he learned that the 192nd Tank Battalion had been selected for duty overseas.
    The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco.  By ferry, they were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island.  They were scheduled to join the battalion at a later date.
   
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam.   At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. 
Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers.

    On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Harold lived through the Japanese bombing of Clark Field.  With the rest of his company, he spent the next four months fighting the Japanese as they advanced in the Philippine Islands.

    The evening of April 8, 1942, Harold learned that he and that other defenders of Bataan were to be surrendered to the Japanese. The next morning Harold was a Prisoner Of War.   With the other members of A Company, he walked to Mariveles where he began the "Death March."

    As a POW, Harold was first held at Camp O'Donnell and next at Cabanatuan Camp #1.  He was sent out on the bridge building detail to rebuild the same bridges the retreating Filipino and American forces destroyed as they withdrew into Bataan.  While on the detail he became ill and was sent to Cabanatuan.
    According to records kept by the medical staff at Cabanatuan, Harold was admitted to the hospital on the Saturday, August 8, 1942, suffering from dysentery.  Harold was reported to have died on Friday, August 14, 1942, of dysentery at 2:30 in the morning.  His date of death happened to be his 28th birthday.
  Since his remains could  not be identified, he was buried as an "Unknown" at the cemetery.  His name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.

    It should be noted that the National Archives records of Americans who died during the  World War II has Tec 4 Harold F. Madison as a second lieutenant. 


 

 

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